Facts about Saint Kitts and Nevis

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First settled by the British in 1623, the islands became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to try and separate from Saint Kitts.

Geography of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
17 20 N, 62 45 W
total: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)
water: 0 sq km
land: 261 sq km
Area comparative:
1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
135 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
tropical tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
volcanic with mountainous interiors
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m
Natural resources:
arable land
Natural hazards:
hurricanes (July to October)
Geography - note:
with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island

Population of Saint Kitts and Nevis

39,817 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.5% (male 5,515/female 5,263)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 12,605/female 12,572)
65 years and over: 8.1% (male 1,313/female 1,861)
Median age:
27.8 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
14.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.4 years
male: 69.56 years
female: 75.42 years
Fertility rate:
2.31 children born/woman
noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)
adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian
Ethnic groups:
predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese
Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97.8%


Country name:
conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
Government type:
constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament
Administrative divisions:
14 parishes; Christ Church Nichola Town, Saint Anne Sandy Point, Saint George Basseterre, Saint George Gingerland, Saint James Windward, Saint John Capesterre, Saint John Figtree, Saint Mary Cayon, Saint Paul Capesterre, Saint Paul Charlestown, Saint Peter Basseterre, Saint Thomas Lowland, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Trinity Palmetto Point
19 September 1983 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 19 September (1983)
19 September 1983
Legal system:
based on English common law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Cuthbert Montraville SEBASTIAN (since 1 January 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil DOUGLAS (since 6 July 1995); Deputy Prime Minister Sam CONDOR (since 6 July 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general in consultation with the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor general is appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general.
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (14 seats, 3 appointed and 11 popularly elected from single-member constituencies; members serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Kitts and Nevis)


Sugar was the traditional mainstay of the Saint Kitts economy until the 1970s. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after decades of losses of 3-4% of GDP annually. To compensate for employment losses, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy. Activities such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking have assumed larger roles in the economy and have contributed to the recent robust growth. Tourism revenues are now the chief source of the islands' foreign exchange; about 341,800 tourists visited Nevis in 2005. The current government is constrained by a high debt burden, public debt reached 190% of GDP by the end of 2005, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.

$721 million (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 25.8%
services: 70.7% 
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
other: 0% 
sugar processing, tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages
sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish
machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco
Export partners:
US 66%, Canada 8.8%, UK 6.2% 
machinery, manufactures, food, fuels
Import partners:
Ukraine 43.6%, US 28%, Trinidad and Tobago 8.6% (
East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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